Point/Counterpoint on Foxygen in Noisey

Entertaining “debate” from Vice’s Noisey on whether Foxygen “sucks” or “is awesome” “doesn’t suck.”

Drew Millard with the wholly original argument that they are idiotic rip-off artists:

The unfortunate truth of Foxygen is that they’re an IRL Tumblr, simply reblogging cool stuff with absolutely no originality while rendering themselves one degree removed from true music quality. If you like new things, your only choice is to hate Foxygen.

[…]

There is no way a band with any sense of self-awareness and intelligence would sing, “Maybe in space there’s an alien race,” or just yell “Fish man!” on one of their songs. Only Foxygen would do this, and that is because Foxygen sucks. Would you play this for your stern but loving father? Fuck no, because he would call it (and you) stupid, and then tell you he loves you. Foxygen’s stupidity is also why you couldn’t have sex to them.

Whereas Benjamin Shapiro argues that this is performance art that shouldn’t be taken so damn literally:

First off, you can’t name a record “We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic” and not have a killer sense of humor. It’s that referencing of over-earnest flower-power buoyancy and heart-on-sleeve stoner utopianism that seems so out of place in 2013. That’s got to be a joke, and it’s hilarious.

[…]

Drew et al were made extremely uncomfortable by a certain Pitchfork interview in which the band is obviously not taking themselves seriously at all. In fact, if Drew could read sentences that are longer than a tweet, he’d see that they preemptively anticipate his type of response:

Sam Frank: “I’ve seen some tweets and shit that are like, ‘Fuck Foxygen, those fucking hipsters!’ or ‘You motherfuckers with your little twee bullshit.’ I mean, yeah, we put a fucking xylophone on ‘San Francisco.’ I don’t really blame anybody, because if I saw the ‘San Francisco’ video, I’d probably be like, ‘That guy looks like a fucking clown idiot imbecile asshole, what the fuck is going on there? This sucks– it just sounds like some 60s bullshit and looks like Wes Anderson.’ But that’s the point. We’re trying to bring a little fun, a little color.”

Why you mad, Drew? That’s the thing about these guys: they are being funny, and the value in their music is that push and pull between playful sincerity and earnest sarcasm.

Hardly a full-throated defense of the band, but about the best you could expect given the apparent groupthink in the Noisey offices. And I hate to make an “all press is good press” argument, but at the very least it’s proving very hard to ignore this band…